NURSLING, NOURISHING OF.—The most natural food for the infant is the milk of its own mother. See NURSING. If, for any reason, the mother is prevented from nursing her baby, artificial foods must he considered. The best substitute for mother's milk is cows' milk, which differs from the former principally by reason of its higher percentage of albuminous bodies (casein). The amount of fat is about the same in the two kinds of milk ; but cows' milk contains less sugar than clues mother's milk. There is a further important difference in the circumstance that the casein of cows' milk is more difficult to digest than that of human milk. This is largely due to the fact that the casein of cows' milk coagulates in the baby's stomach in coarser masses than does that of mother's milk. These masses contain less fat in proportion to their size, and are more compact.
milk is exposed to contamination of various kinds from the time it leaves the cows' udder to the time it reaches the infant. These contamina tions not only influence the quality of the milk ; but they also menace the health and well-being of the infant. Aside from the coarse contamina tion by dirt from the stable and excrement from the cow, which in them selves contain countless bacteria, there is a constant danger that, with careless handling, infectious micro-organisms of the most pernicious dis eases may gain access to the milk. Thus, milk coming from a house in which a patient suffering from scarlatina is confined, may be the medium for the spread of this disease. Typhoid fever and diphtheria may be trans mitted in a similar manner. In addition to these disease-germs, other micro-organisms may he imparted to the milk through improper handling during the milking, storing, transportation, or sale of the product. These bacteria may produce poisons in the milk, which cannot be rendered in nocuous even by long-continued boiling ; or they may so irritate the nursling's stomach as to cause an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the intestine, leading to CHOLERA MoRnus, or even to death. The milk may, further more, have been exposed to harmful influences before leaving the cow, as when the animal suffers from some internal disease, or has been fed on injurious foods.
From this, as well as from other considerations, it follows that it is the urgent duty of every state, county, and city to pay strict attention to the management of dairies. The strictest possible laws should prevail, providing for the most careful inspection of all dairies, especially with reference to cleanliness, and to the health of cows and employees. The severest
punishment should be meted out to proprietors of dairies from which con taminated or adulterated milk is being sold. In cases of recurrent infractions of the law, the revoking of licenses may be a necessary punishment.
Under the conditions prevailing in most of our large cities, it devolves to a great extent upon parents to assure themselves that their children are being fed only on milk which is obtained from cows that are absolutely healthy and properly fed, and which is being handled in the cleanest possible manner. It should also he taken into consideration that the milk of one cow is not as beneficial to the infant as the mixed milk from several cows. In spite of the greatest care and cleanliness, however, it is not always possible to obtain milk which is entirely free from germs. Raw milk, therefore, sooner or later becomes subject to decomposition and clotting.
To destroy the germs that cause decomposition, the best means is to boil the milk. Since simple boiling is not the best and safest method, special pots have been constructed, which render it feasible to keep the milk boiling for a longer period of time, and which prevent boiling over. These pots are made from heavily enamelled sheet-iron, or from glazed earthen ware, and are provided with close-fitting, perforated covers. If the baby's milk, which is boiled or Pasteurised (see next paragraph) as soon as it reaches the kitchen, is to be left in the pot until given to the infant, the pot should he kept in the refrigerator, and should be thoroughly shaken before the needed quantity is poured out, so as to distribute evenly the cream which may have separated to the top. The constant cleanliness of this milk-pot, which should not be used for any other purposes, must be considered by the mother or nurse to he one of her principal duties. When the pot has been emptied it should be scoured with sand, ashes, or a brush and hot water ; and it should he boiled out every day, or at least twice a week, with a solution of soft soap (one table-spoonful to half a gallon of water). This boiling of the milk, and cleansing of the milk-pot, do not prevent germs from entering the milk afterwards. A greater degree of security is offered by Pasteurisation.